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Program Assessment


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Rail Industry Pension Fund

The purpose of the Railroad Retirement program is to provide income protection for rail employees, their families and their survivors in the event of disability, retirement or death. The program pays disability, retirement, spouse and survivor benefits from taxes assessed on rail employers and employees.


What This Rating Means


This is the highest rating a program can achieve. Programs rated Effective set ambitious goals, achieve results, are well-managed and improve efficiency.
  • The program pays benefits accurately and timely. In 2006, $9.5 billion in benefits was paid to 619,000 retirees, survivors and dependents. The Railroad Retirement Board operates efficiently: total administrative costs are about 1%. Railroad Retirement payment accuracy is consistently over 99.5%. Benefits are also timely: in 2006, over 96% of retirement benefits were paid within 60 days.
  • The program is tracking and achieving the majority of its performance measures. The program tracks meaningful performance measures, and has met most of its annual targets in recent years. In response, the program set more aggressive targets for 2009. The target for disability timeliness will increase from 63% in 2007 to 75% in 2009. 75% is about 10% higher than actual performance in 2006.
  • The 2006 financial statement audit identified three management deficiencies in program administration. The agency is working on these deficiencies, and expects the 2007 financial statement audit to reflect that two have been remedied.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Modernizing the delivery of customer service by implementing a nationwide toll-free telephone system that can automatically route calls to available representatives.
  • Expanding the document imaging system to field offices to reduce paperwork, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and help protect customer information within a secure electronic environment.
  • Improving the information systems infrastructure through database conversion and data optimization initiatives, which will enable further modernization of claims processing systems in the future.

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